Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
I grew up in Palo Alto, California, the heart of the area now known as Silicon Valley. Back then most of the area had not been developed. My friends and I would explore the rural foothills in areas now populated with high tech, pharmaceutical, and other cutting edge industries. We would look for snakes, lizards and insects, which we would collect, study then set free. When we weren’t doing that we were playing sandlot baseball or football games. Summer days we would leave the house after breakfast and not return home until dinner time. Our parents wouldn’t have any idea where we were all day, nor did they worry about it. Those were different times that taught me how to explore the wonders in our little world as well as develop independence and responsibility.
Tell us about your writing career
I have been writing professionally since my twenties, when I began producing freelance articles for community newspapers. I started writing fiction about this time as well. While my writing gained the attention of three different New York agents as far back as the 80s, they were never able to sell my work to a major publisher. The query-wait-reject, query-wait-reject business model of publishing eventually grew tiresome so I walked away from submitting anything for many years. Eventually, I went directly to smaller presses for Barbary Baseball, Blood Runs Deep, and The Bugfish Experiment. I decided to self-publish Courage Matters even though it had some interest from agents because I wanted to get it out there for readers and to have more control over its release and promotion. I am finding the independent publishing route to be a much more satisfying way to go. Indie publishing allows me to communicate directly with readers and control the marketing and distribution of my books in ways that traditional publishing did not. Also, instead of waiting for a yearlong cycle of querying agents, who in turn query the Big Six publishers, who in turn show some interests as long as I will make this change or that (and then change their mind), I am now able to get my book into print and into eBooks in a matter of days. It’s a great time to be a writer. So far, I've been very pleased with my decision to become an indie publisher as well as a writer.
Tell us more about your current book, Courage Matters. What’s next in this mystery series?
Courage Matters is my best work to date. Frankly, it could have been published by a major publishing house, but as I said earlier I didn’t want to do that long, frustrating dance with a publisher again. I wanted to write a quality book then put it out there for readers and being able to control the marketing reins.
Courage Matters follows PI Ray Courage as he takes on his first case involving a possible financial crime that turns into two murders. Ray deals with this as he rekindles his love affair with a woman whose father is in the center of the mess. I’m working on book two in the Ray Courage Mystery series, which I will publish in a couple of months. The working title is Courage Resurrected and I think readers will be very pleased with it. I’ve also roughed out the concept and plot for the third Ray Courage book, so I will go to work on that immediately after finishing book two. Readers keep asking me for more of Ray Courage so I feel compelled to oblige them. I believe that books two and three in the series will surprise readers as Ray’s character evolves in some very unexpected ways.
What keeps you motivating towards writing?
I love to read and I love to write. I don’t even think about what motivates me to keep writing. It’s simply what I do.
How much real life goes into a fiction writing?
In my writing very little of the plot details or people are based on my life or people I know. The setting of scenes, the location of events are definitely based on places I have been and things that I have seen. All of the events in Courage Matters and in books two and three in the series take place in Northern California.
What would you like to say to your readers?
First of all, I would like to thank all of you who have purchased or downloaded my book. I want to especially thank all of you who have rated or reviewed the book, either on your blogs, Smashwords, Goodreads, B&N or Amazon.
I would love to hear from my readers and promise to e-mail you back promptly if you have any questions or would like to comment on any of my books. Please sign up for my newsletter by going to my website. I have some fabulous giveaways and promotions coming up in 2015 and my newsletter subscribers will get the first notice and guaranteed discounts.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
In my mysteries, I enjoy completing the arc of the story and creating a tight plot that doesn't have any flaws in logic. Even more satisfying than creating the story itself are the characters. For me creating realistic, compelling characters is the most enjoyable part of writing, especially in a series like I'm doing now with Ray Courage. With several books I have the ability to create a very rich and interesting character, and not just for him but for some of the other recurring characters as well.
Though I've only completed one non-fiction book (Barbary Baseball), I do have two planned in the years ahead. For these, I have really enjoyed doing the research. I pride myself on being thorough when it comes to research, so that I can present the information accurately and reliably, as well with some literary style.
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